Allusive Parenting

Friday, February 10, 2012

I can never read Lear without remembering all the (many, many) times in my childhood when my mother declaimed, in arch tones and in my general direction, "How sharper than a serpent's tooth...!". She would trail off meaningfully, casting an imperative look my way, as if to say, "I won't belabor the point; we all know where I'm going with this."

Let's be clear: I was about four at the time. I wouldn't see Lear for another decade and a half, when it would come as something of a shock to find that the aphorism had an extrafamilial origin, not to mention a second half.

To this day, if asked about that line, I will ring out the first line with biting, declamatory pomp, only to tumble into a second half that sounds something like this: "How SHARPER than a SERPENT'S *TOOTH* it is to blah blah something something ungrateful child. You know."

And it's that kind of attention to parental lessons that makes me a pelican daughter.

On a not entirely unrelated note, "This is a brave night to cool a courtesan" is my new go-to way of describing Haligonian winter weather.

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